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    Ranu Mudherjee: A Bright Stage

    At the de Young from July 14, 2018–January 20, 2019

    San Francisco-based artist Ranu Mukherjee employs drawing, painting, animation, and choreography to create hybrid installations that blur the lines between the moving and still image. For the de Young’s Wilsey Court, Mukherjee has conceived a sprawling multi-media work entitled A Bright Stage.

    The installation metaphorically invokes a grove of banyan trees, also called strangler figs. Native to India, banyan trees grow by attaching themselves to, and eventually killing, other trees. Mature banyans reach such significant scales that their canopies come to define social gathering spaces. A Bright Stage reflects on the cultural and spatial perspectives of the museum and the atrium as a freely accessible space for public voice and interaction.

    “It feels like history is cracking open right now and I’m thinking a lot about the amplification of public voices carrying histories of colonialism and feminism,” says Mukherjee. “This historically and geographically wide-ranging collection [at the de Young] with its colonial, nineteenth-century roots is informing the trajectory of my work. It has the potential to talk back and slowly turn cultural perspective inside out.”

    Painted a solid base color—green, pink, light blue or yellow—the atrium’s walls will be swept in multiple swaths of linen, superimposed with silk embroidery, and featuring a pattern of media images of ritual processions, civic demonstrations, dance and communal prayer. LCD screens embedded in the fabric will display a series of graphic animations of physical and social bodies, traveling with the viewer through the space.